Dear Fran, Tom, and the rest of the Pack,
I was reading the website DeepSouthRugbyUnion.com when I stumbled onto the slogan poll.
I voted for Rugby with Manners. It is a catchy phrase.
I thought about rugby combined with manners for a brief moment. I went back to my very first rugby party which was in Fort Wayne, Indiana circa 1975. Bill Campbell from Boon, North Carolina came to town and he was friends with my ex. We attended the party with him and at the beginning it seemed like a regular party. We dined on grilled hamburgers and slammed beer in large quantities. The singing began and I was hooked. “This is Mad Magazine live.” I said to my ex. He ignored me as he usually did which is why I now call him my ex.
I went looking around in the next room where they were playing music and dancing. But it wasn’t couples dancing and it wasn’t line dancing; it was a group of about ten people holding beer cups and having a ball, all dancing together. I joined in the dancing and singing and nearly every song became an aerobic workout. The beer was sloshing everywhere. In the group, there were some tall, handsome lads; a few, cute girls; and a short, stocky guy whom everyone called “Hooker.”
The beer was sloshing everywhere and I stopped to roll up my bell bottom jeans. I rejoined the group and began dancing again when, out of the blue, Hooker hurled all over my shoes. He did it with intent. It wasn’t a roll over and puke out of the side of his mouth type of puke. It was an aim-his-mouth-at-my-feet-and-turn-his-head-back-and-forth-to-insure-complete-coverage, type puke. In my fine, upper-middle class upbringing with charm school lessons, etiquette training and ballroom dance lessons that included more etiquette; I never once stumbled into the proper, mannerly response to someone puking on ones shoes. What would Miss Manners do?
I went to the bathroom of their clubhouse and put my foot in the toilet and flushed it. I put my second foot in the toilet and flushed that. I tried to dry the old shoes with paper towels and soon gave up. I touched up my lipstick, in hopes of diverting attention away from my feet, and I returned to the dance floor.
When I returned to the room, with a fresh beer; the group was standing in a bigger circle outside the dance floor and Hooker was the center of attention. He would stand in the middle of the room and regurgitate in all directions. He would then run to the edge of the room where the crowd would part a hole for him. Then, with a running start, he would hurl himself onto the floor and slide the rest of the way in his on puke. He slid in the vomit on his back, on his side, curled up in a ball and every which way making quite a show. He would then slam beer, replenishing his supply, while others in the room would measure his slide, stepping heel to toe along his slide mark of vomit. Then, they announced how many “feet” the slide was. The room cheered no matter what the call. This went on for a while and I was so enamored with this group I was soon measuring the slides myself. Hooker had an impressive skill. I never once saw him stick a finger down his throat. Someone told me, he had been a wrestler in school. His mom made him eat every meal and his coach told him to lose weight. He had taught himself to toss cookies at will to please both authority figures at once. This was the mid 70s so he must have been the world’s, first known bulimic.
I have this embarrassingly good memory and this was thirty-four years ago if my math is correct and I will never forget my introduction to this wonderful world of rugby with its own, unique set of manners.
And the loser is: Inspiring rednecks to fall in love with Rugby
Color me a Redneck.
I went both years I rented the other half of the club – Mardi Gras 82 and 83. The group was called Party ‘Til You Puke. And I don’t remember how they found the clubhouse. The first year was an Elvis Theme and included a poster of Elvis stating “Don’t Puke On My Blue Suede Shoes.” The second year they left a couple sacks of oysters, which Roger Escude and I prepared every way but the wrong way the next day for the Seattle RFC guys staying with us during carnival. Yes, it started out gross and got worse. But I loved those guys.